Friday, January 10, 2014

Charlie's Adventure Part 2

* If you missed Part 1, you can find it here.

Charlie was being transported by ambulance to Bentonville so that the cardiologist there could do the pericardiocentisis.  I was an absolute nervous wreck.  But when my cousin stepped in the room to transport my husband it really made me feel a little more at ease.  I had just told Charlie a few minutes before they arrived that I had hoped that Brett would be the one taking him over.  Not that I don't have faith in any of the other wonderful EMT/Paramedics that our town has, but there's just something about having someone you completely know and trust being there with him when I couldn't be.

They gave me the directions to the hospital and I took off.  I sat in the parking lot for a good 5-10 minutes waiting for the ambulance to arrive, wondering if I had mistakenly gone to the wrong hospital.  When they finally arrived Charlie and my cousin were giving the driver a hard time because they had never had a family member beat them to the hospital!  And I promise, I drove the speed limit.  I didn't drive fast because I was spending this time in prayer.  It was the only thing that was keeping me calm.

We get up to the ICU and are bombarded with questions.  I'm trying to answer as many of the questions that I can because they immediately started hooking Charlie up to all the different machines and monitors that they needed him hooked up to.  Within about 10 minutes of us being there, they had already come in and started doing several different tests.

About an hour or so after we arrived, our new cardiologist came in and advised us that Charlie would be going to surgery first thing in the morning because there was so much fluid around his heart that it could quickly become an emergent situation.  That really took my breath away.  He doesn't get sick.  He barely gets a cold.  And now we are facing a near emergency surgery!

Honestly, I was scared.  Charlie was scared.  I did my best to keep strong when I was in the room with him, but there were many times I would step outside and cry and scream, beat my fists against the steering wheel, whatever I could do.  I also spent many hours in prayer.  As I said earlier, it was really the only thing that was keeping me going.

The nurse that we had that night before surgery was the best nurse ever!  I know she was sent to be our nurse and God had his hand in it every step of the way.  Her name was Wanita.  She had this amazing accent that I just loved to hear.  I could sit and listen to her talk all day long.  She was from Liberia.  She could see that we were both worried and kept telling us that he was going to be just fine because Jesus had this. She said you just tell Jesus to tell the devil he can hit the road and honey that stinkin' devil ain't got no choice. She said I'm a Jesus praisin' devil stompin' believer and I'm gonna be right here with you and I know you're gonna be just fine. God always knows just what we need right when we need it.

So he gets prepped for surgery, and I go wait in the waiting room.  This is supposed to be about an hour long procedure.  Around the one hour mark, the surgeon came out and took me to the consult room.  He told me that they were unable to do the procedure for a couple of different reasons and that they would be calling in the Cardiothoracic surgeon to make a small incision just below his breast bone in order to do a pericardial window.

So they bring him back to his room and I am able to go back and see him for a little while.  He's in pain, but overall doing pretty well.  Then he looks up at me and asks me the question I had not wanted to answer.  "Surgery?"  I wanted to tell him "No, everything is fine and we'll be going home tomorrow."  But I couldn't do that.  I had to tell him "yes."  I told him through stinging tears in my eyes.  While I watched the tears well up in his.  Surgery is scary.  Anytime.  But when you're dealing with the heart of an otherwise healthy person, it's really scary.

So we prayed.  We prayed hard.  I prayed for him.  He prayed for me.  As scary as it was, this was one of the most precious moments in our marriage.  There is absolutely nothing more amazing than hearing your spouse intercede on your behalf.  As a side note to Charlie's Adventure, I'd like to tell you that if you haven't prayed for your spouse I highly suggest you do.  I plan on doing a post soon about this but just do it!

Back to the story.  They came and re-prepped him for his second surgery and I once again went out to the waiting room.  This was also about an hour long wait, which in the world of heart surgeries is extremely short.  The surgeon soon came and told me that he had done wonderfully and that I could go back to his room and see him in about an hour.  So I ran and grabbed something to eat and came back to his room.

He was soooo sleepy.  He was on morphine.  As much as I hated to see my husband lying in that bed, my husband on morphine is HILARIOUS!  He's always been able to make me laugh in even my darkest days but the words that came out of his mouth while on morphine were fantastic.

The next few days were full of lying in bed, getting out of bed, trying to walk, what seemed like a million different doctors coming in and out, and meds around the clock.  His first surgery was on a Wednesday.  On Friday one of the cardiologist partners came in and told us that the window had not worked.  There was still too much fluid draining and they didn't like that.  So the new plan was to do an open heart procedure to strip the pericardium and also a MAZE procedure to correct the atrial fibrillation.

After having been in the hospital a week at this point and experiencing many ups and downs, I couldn't hold it in any longer.  I lost it.  Right there in front of my husband and the cardiologist.  I had tried so hard to control my emotions and be strong for Charlie while he was in this situation but I just couldn't do it any longer.  The cardiologist was excellent.  He knew exactly what to say to calm us both down and told me in not so many words that he knew I had a great husband because he could see the worry on his face because he knew I was worried.  I was still scared.  Charlie knew it.  We both were scared.  I knew many people that have had open heart surgeries but they were my grandparents and a couple of other people that were my grandparents ages.  Not my husband.  Not someone this young and healthy.

The cardiologist told us that more than likely the surgery would be scheduled for Tuesday because Monday was already booked.  This gave us all day Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday to mull over the seriousness of the surgery and worry.  Because that's what we tend to do...worry.  Even though we shouldn't.  We do.  Because even though we know we have Jesus standing right beside us, we are still human and we still have troubles placing it all in His hands like we are supposed to and not worrying one bit.

This was the longest weekend ever.  Luckily for Charlie he was the patient so the doctor gave him some anti anxiety medication.  I on the other hand just prayed and prayed.  I really didn't know what else to do.

To be continued...

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